Why You Need to Prepare Your Organization with a Cybersecurity Framework to Be Protected in 2021

We Work Under the NIST 800-171 Cybersecurity Framework Guidelines to Ensure Our Clients are Able to Identify, Protect, Detect, Respond, and Recover

What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework
and Why Should You Care About NIST 800-171?

Introduction to NIST Compliance

Back in 2013, Executive Order (EO) 13636 directed the executive branch of the United States to do the following: 

  • Develop a technology-neutral voluntary cybersecurity framework
  • Promote and incentivize the adoption of cybersecurity practices
  • Increase the volume, timeliness and quality of cyber threat information sharing
  • Incorporate strong privacy and civil liberties protections into every initiative to secure our critical infrastructure
  • Explore the use of existing regulation to promote cyber security 
This order was supported by the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed the aforementioned framework with the intention to reduce cyber risks to critical infrastructure. 
Now, it is recommended that any organization — but particularly those which handle sensitive information that needs to be properly protected against cyber criminals — remain compliant with the latest NIST 800-171 mandate. If your organization works with the government at any capacity, compliance is mandatory. 

The framework developed by NIST consists of standards, guidelines, and practices that organizations can use to develop a flexible, repeatable, and cost-effective strategy for cybersecurity.

"The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) leads the Federal government’s efforts to secure our Nation’s critical infrastructure by working with owners and operators to prepare for, prevent, mitigate, and respond to threats. While DHS plays a central role, the Department cannot do this work alone. Public private partnerships are essential. It is through partnerships where the Department continues to see new value and positive impact in mitigating and rapidly responding to crises."

Understanding the Primary NIST Cybersecurity Framework Components

The Cybersecurity Framework consists of three main components: Implementation Tiers, the Framework Core, and your company Profile:

NIST framework components: core, tiers, profile

NIST compliance is an ongoing process.

AllConnected stands ready to help your organization navigate the NIST compliance process. Schedule an initial 30-minute IT consultation to talk to one of our experts about your organization's current level of compliance and your compliance goals.

Why Should You Consider a Compliance Checklist for Building a NIST-Based Framework for Your Organizations?

Any non-compliance of the NIST 800-171 mandate can lead to potentially devastating consequences, regardless of your industry. 

For manufacturers, particularly those with Department of Defense (DoD) contracts that need to adhere to DFARS or CMMC requirements, any level of non-compliance can result in a loss of those government contrast and potential debarment. This means your organization could lose the ability to acquire these contracts in the future. 

For financial institutions or accountants, you run the risk of losing your licenses to practice if you are found to be non-compliant with FINRA and IRS regulations. The FTC Safeguarding Tax Payer Data Rule requires a cybersecurity framework to maintain compliance.

For any healthcare practices, a lack of HIPAA compliance can also lead to costly consequences and potential lawsuits (at best). 

Educational institutions can also lose government contracts and funding for not maintaining compliance. 

Because of how serious some of these repercussions are, a compliance checklist could be the easiest way to ensure you don’t miss a step when setting up your cybersecurity framework. The NIST 800-171 mandate outlines 110 difference “areas” of compliance within 14 categories and subcategories. With that in mind, it’s clear a precise method and organizational tool is the best way to make sure everything goes smoothly. 

3-Step Process to Ensuring NIST Compliance

1) Identify Your Areas of Compliance

What different contracts does your organization hold? What are the individual compliance regulations for each? What kind of clients do you work with, and what kind of data are you collecting, storing, and using that needs to be kept secure? To get started on your cybersecurity framework, you need to start by thinking about all these questions.

2) Develop a Compliance Checklist

There are so many components to building a NIST-based cybersecurity framework, and the only way to make sure you don't miss a step is to outline where your organization fits into the NIST guide. This is a complicated process in itself, and most organizations would benefit from partnering with an IT partner to create this or at least getting a consultation.

3) Partner with a NIST Expert to Stay Organized and Efficient

You already have plenty of business to handle, and the last thing you need to worry about is an additional area of risk arising from not having the proper technology, capabilities, and expertise at your disposal when it comes to maintaining compliance. Whether you're a small business with no dedicated IT department or a larger establishment with existing IT, partnering with the right MSP can give you peace of mind knowing you're doing everything you should be to maintain compliance. That is, assuming you pick the right IT partner...

AllConnected is your TOTAL IT partner

Our experts work off the NIST 800-171 mandate to help our clients create their compliance checklists and set up their disaster preparedness and recovery plans, addressing all 5 key pillars of the NIST Framework.

Why Should You Invest in Cybersecurity Assessments?

AllConnected Provides NIST 800-171 Based Cybersecurity Assessments, including Risk Assessments, Vulnerability Assessments, and Cybersecurity Maturity Assessments

Cybersecurity Assessments Help You to:

  • Get closer to regulatory compliance requirements by evaluating your compliance controls and revealing your full range of risk exposure.
  • Identify gaps in your security program using “Gap Analysis” to show the difference between where you are at and the industry regulation you are trying to reach.
  • Discover unrealized assets like your databases, web applications, digital platforms, and potentially infrastructure you aren’t always aware of. Any unmonitored, unpatched assets lead to the possibility of vulnerabilities.
  • Identify vulnerabilities so you can plan ahead and reduce the likelihood of a breach
  • Establish your security baseline so you better understand your security controls and set your organization on a clear path toward compliance. 
NIST cybersecurity framework, NIST cybersecurity assessments, identify, protect, detect, respond, recover

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